OPTIMAL ROUTE PLANNING WITH GOOGLE MAPS? 5 REASONS THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE
2 min. reading time
22 April 2021 ·
practice that's become second nature. You get in your car, open Maps on your mobile phone - or for the more advanced among us: Apple Car Play or Android Auto - and enter the destination address by voice command. Now Google Maps or Apple Maps begins and the best possible route is calculated. We drive off.
This approach is common in the consumer world, but it becomes more difficult in a professional setting, especially when several stops with different requirements and time dependencies have to be scheduled: for most field staff, however, this represents the daily routine. In this article we show why such online route planning solutions fail in field service management and how you can benefit from professional software solutions for optimal route planning.
GOOGLE MAPS AND CO. DO NOT KNOW THEIR CUSTOMERS
Job and route planning according to priority, accessibility and job type? Unfortunately, this is not the case with many online route planners. In the worst case, you drive to the same job several times and save neither time nor money. This is in no way an optimised route plan.
ROUTE AND TOUR PLANNING, BUT NOT IN THE RIGHT ORDER
A tour with ten destinations can be planned with more than 3.6 million possibilities. Unimaginable, isn't it? For comparison: the probability of winning a prize in the Lottery is 1 in 1.93. So simply determining the optimal order of the jobs is a game of chance. And how is a route planner supposed to know in which order your customers should be visited? This brings us back to the point above: no know-how about the jobs and thus no possibility to include other factors in order to plan the best possible route for the technician and your customers.
I CAN'T SEE THE (ROUTE) FOR THE (PLANNING OF TOURS)
Hand on heart: How many customers does your field service team visit per day? Surely more than the 10 mentioned above, right? And certainly more than 25. However, 25 stops are usually the maximum number of intermediate destinations that can be scheduled by online route planning software. And we are by no means talking about several field staff here. We are only talking about a tour with a maximum of 25 orders from one employee. Do you still know which jobs your employee wanted to go to and where they are currently located? If you plan with Google Maps, certainly not. It is of central importance to know which customers your team visits in order to be able to reschedule the optimally available technician (costs, availability, skills) in case of emergency hold-ups or breakdowns.
NIGHT-SHIFT OR 9 TO 5?
Let's assume your 100 jobs for the day have been scheduled in the correct order and your staff start their tours. Does a solution like Google Maps know the exact working and break times of your employees? Unlikely. Are you in line with regulations on how many breaks can be taken and how many hours can be worked? It is therefore indispensable to include such factors in optimal route planning.
All order data directly at hand? Information about previous orders? Material checks? Customer signature? In today's world, information is worth its weight in gold and the key to an excellent customer experience. It makes work easier for your field staff and all data can be tracked transparently - even by you.
Have you ever recorded a customer's signature in Apple Maps? Or called up a checklist of the tools you need? Unfortunately, online route planners never have such functionalities.
Non-specialist route planning solutions don't know your clients, will never know what the problems are, or why the job is an emergency.
Order prioritisation and a smart tour sequence are also not in the wheelhouse of using maps for route planning. Overviews, evaluations and spontaneous changes are impossible to map. And unfortunately, they never make work any easier for head office or out on the road.
So when it comes to classic field service management, online route planners such as Google Maps or Apple Maps quickly reach their limits.
This is where smart and professional route planning solutions like FLS VISITOUR help you. Playing to your strengths: holistic optimisation in real time, consideration of all relevant factors such as order prioritisation, availability and skill sets of the technicians or cost and mile savings. Transparent processes adapted to you, that offer evaluation and analysis options. Simply continue to use Google Maps and Apple Maps for private excursions and holidays.